Sunday, 9 July 2017

Conversations in California



I have had a wonderful email form Patrick Carr, from Arcata, California, who is running a series of groups called "Climate Conversations" for the local City of Arcata Recreation Division. We sent him a package of materials earlier in the year, and now he writes:

“I adapted the material and the group structure pretty significantly to be more appropriate to American (and specifically, Arcatan) audiences. I produced a The groups ran weekly for six weeks; I don't find many people who can reliably keep track of and attend meetings held every other week, nor a series that runs for more than six weeks (unless it's required for work or education). I think Americans may have a shorter attention span that Brits possess. …
I borrowed mightily from the suggested learning games and approaches used by Carbon Conversations, but I researched and produced a lot of the material on my own. This was prompted by the need to have info on the issues faced in the U.S. and specifically in Arcata. We're non-metric, for better or worse, and have some advantages and disadvantages relative to the U.K. … We drive more miles (especially in this far-flung county with poor mass transit), but now have a lot of electric cars on the market with federal and state incentives. …
I had difficulty finding a co-facilitator for the program so I took a chance on facilitating alone. I've had a lot of experience providing group psychotherapy, so I wasn't uncomfortable with the idea of running a group, but I had to ensure that I didn't lapse into a mode of providing therapy rather than focusing on the education part and encouraging the participants to simply share their experience, and encouraging them to stay constructive.

The feedback that I heard from group members was that the information was helpful (and as the group progressed through the weeks I was hearing more about specific plans the participants had), but that the opportunity to talk about each of us having a role in the climate change crisis, and the distress this causes, was the most helpful part of the program.
The City of Arcata was very supportive of this project and I plan to provide another section of Climate Conversations in the fall. I appreciate your assistance and especially the tremendous inspiration that you and Rosemary Randall provided me in simply developing a program like Carbon Conversations. “

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